Test your driving fitness
By RODNEY THRASH
Published November 29, 2005
||Life at the end of the road
For seniors reluctant to give it up, driving is independence. But for others, safety has become more important.
Am I a safe driver?
Tips for a tough talk
The challenge for seniors, said Susan Frank, supervisor of the Gulfport Senior Center, is "accepting the fact that they've lost that independence (and) something that they took for granted for so long: the ability to be so mobile."
Let someone else do the driving
Most experts agree that, without a car, seniors have a hard time getting around, especially if family and friends do not live nearby.
When it's time to hang up the car keys
Are you ready to give up driving? Is your eyesight good enough and are your reflexes quick enough to handle the tough situations?
Giving up our spot in the driver's seat
To drive, or not to drive? Privilege or right? How big a part does age make in this decision, and who gets to decide?
Driven to continue driving
A few weeks back, a 93-year-old driver struck a pedestrian, severing his leg and killing him. The driver never slowed.
Letters to the Editor:
Part I: In the driver's seat
Part II: In the driver's seat
A person's ability to drive is not related to age, said Dennis McCarthy, co-director of the National Older Driver Research and Training Center at the University of Florida.
"There's no such thing," he said. "What's a better predictor is their functional ability," their visual, mental and physical sharpness.
There are many telltale signs, according to AAA and the AARP.
Does the driver:
- have scrapes or dents on the car?
- neglect to buckle up?
- have difficulty working the pedals?
- hit curbs?
- have difficulty merging on freeways or turning onto busy streets?
- have trouble seeing pedestrians, cyclists and other vehicles, particularly at night?
- ignore or miss stop signs or other traffic signals?
- react too slowly to sirens and lights of emergency vehicles?
- weave, straddle or drift into other lanes or change lanes without signaling?
- position the car improperly for turns, especially left turns, or attempt turns from the wrong lane?
- get lost or disoriented easily, even in familiar places?
-have two or more collisions or "near-misses" in the past two years?
If someone is showing these and other signs, contact the Florida Division of Driver Licenses, Medical Review, Neil Kirkman Building, Room A227-MS 86, Tallahassee, FL 32399-0500. Fax the statement to 850 921-6147 or fill out an online form at www.hsmv.state.fl.us/ddl/dlfaq_new.html
AAA has produced a $15 online self-assessment, "Roadwise Review." The CD-ROM allows seniors to check, in private, their visual, mental and physical abilities and offers steps to reduce their risk behind the wheel. Go to www.aaasouth.com/acs_news/roadwisereview.asp to order a copy.
AARP has its own self-assessment, "Older Driver Skill Assessment and Resource Guide: Creating Mobility Choices." Go to www.aarp.org/families/driver_safety/driver_safetyissues/a2004-06-21-whentostop.html to learn how to order a copy.
"There's a lot of information out there," said Yoli Buss, director of the AAA Driver Improvement Program in Tampa. "The thing is that people don't know how to access it."
[Last modified November 28, 2005, 16:38:44]
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